Category Archives: Sustaining Earth

Esbjörn-Hargens to Speak on Integral Economies

HargensCurrent approaches to capital have done much over the last hundred years to create an unsustainable world and jeopardize planetary health. Thus, the transformation of economic systems lies at the heart of sustaining our Earth.   On Thursday, March 17, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. in the Panasci Family Chapel, on the Le Moyne College campus, Dr. Sean Esbjörn-Hargens will focus on recently emerging models of capital that expand our understanding of capital to include many different forms (e.g., natural capital, human capital, psychological capital). He will examine the various metrics that are being used to measure these forms of capital and will show how these more integral approaches to value creation can play a crucial role in fostering planetary health.

This lecture is part of the McDevitt Center’s new initiative devoted to Sustaining Earth which is motivated by our conviction that a full understanding of these threats and effective responses to them must draw upon both scientific and broadly religious insights and perspectives.

Sean Esbjörn-Hargens, Ph.D. is the founder of MetaIntegral Associates, the world’s premier integral applications consulting firm that specializes in cross-sector coordination for large-scale change.   He has published more than a dozen articles, established the Journal of Integral Theory and Practice with Ken Wilber in 2003, and co-authored the book Integral Ecology: Uniting Multiple Perspectives on Nature (Integral Books: 2009).

For additional information on Dr. Esbjörn-Hargens we suggest reading A Conversation Gone MetaIntegral, a brief interview between Esbjörn-Hargens and Eric Reynolds from the California Institute of Integral Studies.

This lecture is free and open to the public. For additional information please contact the McDevitt Center at or (315) 445-6200.

Mendieta to Speak on A Bestiary for the Anthropocene

mendietaThe Anthropocene names a new geological epoch, one in which humans are no longer at the mercy of nature, but rather one in which nature is now at the mercy of human recklessness and incontinence. On Wednesday, February 17, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. in the Bernat Special Events Room on the Le Moyne College campus, Eduardo Mendieta, Ph.D. will aim to think through the Anthropocene from the perspective of animal life in an age of megaurbanization and the “end of the wild.”

This lecture is part of the McDevitt Center’s new initiative devoted to Sustaining Earth which is motivated by our conviction that a full understanding of these threats and effective responses to them must draw upon both scientific and broadly religious insights and perspectives. It is co-sponsored by the Philosophy Department.

Eduardo Mendieta received his doctorate in philosophy from the New School for Social Research. He is currently a professor of philosophy at The Pennsylvania State University where he teaches courses on ethics and temporality, moral reasoning, politics and society, and Homer’s Iliad.

For additional information on Dr. Mendieta we suggest beginning with this series of interviews with theologian Claudio Carvalhaes, Ph.D.

This lecture is free and open to the public. For additional information please contact the McDevitt Center at or (315) 445-6200.

COP21 UN Climate Change Conference to Begin in Paris

We are two degrees from a vastly different world; a world of catastrophic droughts, mass extinctions, extreme rise in sea level, and more.  Overwhelming scientific consensus agrees that this will be our reality within a few decades if we do not curb our carbon emissions.  But how can this be done on a global scale?

At the COP21 UN climate change conference in Paris, France held November 30 to December 11, 2015, 196 countries will meet to sign a new climate change agreement.  Their aim is to build a “Paris Climate Alliance”, capable of keeping the average global temperature rise below 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels and adapt our societies to existing disruption.

To follow the conference and keep up with the latest news coming out of COP21 visit: United Nations Conference on Climate Change.

To learn more about what the COP21 conference can achieve we suggest reading this article entitled Yes, the Paris Climate Change Conference Can Save the Planet.

To continue the dialogue locally, the McDevitt Center’s initiative on Sustaining Earth will continue this spring with a lecture by Sean Esbjorn-Hargens, Ph.D. (MetaIntegral, Inc.) on March 17th and John Hart, Ph.D. (Boston University School of Theology) on April 7th.  Both lectures will begin at 6:00 p.m. in the Panasci Family Chapel on the Le Moyne College campus.

Michael Mann, Ph.D. to Speak at Le Moyne College

IPCC_2001_3rd Assessment_Report_SPMThe ongoing assault on climate science in the United States has never been more aggressive, more blatant, or more widely publicized than in the furor surrounding the so-called Hockey Stick–a clear and compelling graph of scientific data constructed by Dr. Michael E. Mann and his colleagues to demonstrate that global temperatures have risen in conjunction with the increase in industrialization and the use of fossil fuels dating back to 1000 AD. The graph was featured in the high-profile “Summary for Policy Makers” of the 2001 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and quickly became an icon in the debate over human-caused (“anthropogenic”) climate change.

MannTree-highresJoin us on Monday, November 2nd at 5:30 p.m. in Le Moyne College’s Panasci Family Chapel as we host a lecture by Michael E. Mann, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Meteorology and Director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University. Professor Mann will tell the story behind the Hockey Stick, using it as a vehicle for exploring broader issues regarding the role of skepticism in science, the uneasy relationship between science and politics, and the dangers that arise when special economic interests and those who do their bidding attempt to skew the discourse over policy-relevant areas of science. In short, Professor Mann will use the Hockey Stick to cut through the fog of disinformation that has been generated by the campaign to deny the reality of climate change and, in so doing, will reveal the very real threat to our future that lies behind it.

Dr. Michael E. Mann received his undergraduate degrees in Physics and Applied Math from the University of California at Berkeley, an M.S. degree in Physics from Yale University, and a Ph.D. in Geology & Geophysics from Yale University. He is the recipient of 27 honors and awards, the author of more than 180 peer-reviewed and edited publications, and has published two books including Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming (Pearson/DK Publishing, 2008) and The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines (Columbia University Press, 2012).

For additional information on Professor Mann and his work, we suggest listening to this interview with Andrea Milan as they discuss the impact of anthropogenic climate change on a geological perspective; reading this June 2015 interview by Stefanie Penn Spear, Founder and CEO of EcoWatch, entitled “Michael Mann’s Dire Predictions Provides Ultimate Guide on Understanding Climate Change;” or watching this brief September 28th, 2015 interview that aired on The Weather Channel in which Professor Mann discussed the “cold blob” in the Atlantic Ocean, its correlation to global warming, and the implication for humanity.

Additional information is also available on Professor Mann’s website.

This talk is part of an ongoing series of lectures devoted to Sustaining Earth: Insights from Science and Religion. It is free and open to the public. For more information please call 315-445-6200 or e-mail

Climate Change Documentary to Be Shown in Syracuse on October 16th

Over one billion people worldwide are dependent upon fish as the principle source of protein. Now, imagine a world without fish; the potential economic, social and environmental impact is enormous.  It is a terrifying premise, and it’s happening right now.

On Friday, October 16th at The Palace Theatre (2384 James Street, Syracuse), GreeningUSA and the Syracuse International Film Festival will sponsor a screening of the award winning, critically acclaimed climate change documentary, A Sea Change. Doors open at 5:15 p.m. and the film program will begin at 6:45 p.m. A panel discussion and Q&A session will be held immediately following the film. Panelists include Barbara Ettinger (documentary filmmaker), Sven Huseby (main protagonist in the film), and Bruce Monger, Ph.D. (climate scientist at Cornell University). Chris Bolt (WAER news and public affairs director) will moderate. Advance sale tickets for A Sea Change are $8 for adults and $5 for seniors (age 60+), students, and family members (at least one parent and child under age 18). Tickets prices at the door on the day of the event will be $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students, and $6 for family members. Free parking will be available in the rear of The Palace Theatre.

A global warming horror story, neatly wrapped up in a tender love story by a grandfather to his grandson, A Sea Change follows the journey of Sven Huseby on his quest to discover what is happening to the worlds oceans and the implications it will have on all of humanity. As Huseby discovers along his journey, and as Pope Francis reminds us, we must begin “…a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all” (Laudato Si’, paragraph 14).

For additional information on the documentary we suggest reading the New York Times article written by Elizabeth Kolbert entitled The Darkening Sea. This article was the inspiration for A Sea Change.

Le Moyne College and Syracuse University Select 2015 Faculty Sustainability Fellows

Steven Affeldt, Director of the McDevitt Center at Le Moyne College, and Sherburne Abbott, Vice President for Sustainability Initiatives at Syracuse University, are pleased to announce the 2015 Faculty Sustainability Fellows. Three to four Fellows from each institution will gather for a series of learning opportunities and discussions this fall, concentrating on the connections between climate change and social justice. It will be an opportunity for faculty from a wide variety of disciplines to share their perspectives and brainstorm collectively about how to bring these issues into classroom lessons and student research.

From left to right: Adelmo Dunghe, S.J., Gwendolyn Morgan, Doug Frank, Jim Hannan, Kishi Ducre, and Evan Weissman. Ronald Wright is not pictured.  Picture courtesy of Chuck Wrainwright.

The 2015 Faculty Sustainability Fellows are:

  • Kishi Animashaun Ducre, African-American Studies (SU College of Arts & Sciences), who will use the fellowship to enhance her course on Hurricane Katrina and to develop opportunities for students to study climate change and climate justice campaigns on the Gulf Coast;
  • Adelmo Dunghe and Gwendolyn Morgan, Communication, Film  and Religious Studies (LMC Arts and Sciences – shared award), to expand a course on Eco Theology and World Cinema.
  • Doug Frank, Biology (SU College of Arts & Sciences), to incorporate into his course on the biophysical impacts of climate change an understanding of its social and ethical implications;
  • James Hannan, English (LMC Arts and Sciences), for developing an interdisciplinary upper-division Core course on “Climate Culture”;
  • Evan Weissman, Food Studies (SU, Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics), to develop a course on Climate Change and the Food System;
  • Ronald Wright, Business Administration (LMC Madden School of Business), to develop a new case for an upper-level class, focusing on the decision making process of an electric utility in response to environmental legislation.

The Faculty Sustainability Fellowship program is supported by the McDevitt Center at LMC and the Vice President for Sustainability Initiatives at SU. Each fellow will receive a small stipend and the opportunity to apply for some additional funding to advance a teaching project. All Fellows will attend three events this fall: a September 16 roundtable at LMC devoted to Pope Francis’s Encyclical on Climate that was issued over the summer; a lecture on November 2 at LMC by renowned climate scientist Michael Mann, and the November 3 University Lecture at SU by Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything: Capitalism and the Climate (2014).

This is the first time either LMC or SU has offered such Fellowships, and the first collaboration on sustainability education between the two schools. “The current semester offered an exceptional opportunity for such collaboration, bracketed as it is by Pope Francis’s encyclical on climate change, “Laudato Si’,” issued over the summer, his September visit to the United States and Congressional address, as well as the global climate talks slated to begin in Paris at the end of November. “ says Dr. Donald McCrimmon, McDevitt Research Associate at LMC. “We were delighted with the response to the call for applications, which fielded six applications from six different disciplines, and the opportunity for LMC faculty to share ideas and actions with colleagues at SU.”

“It has been gratifying to see the breadth of faculty interest in global environmental change and social justice,” says Dr. Rachel May, Coordinator of Sustainability Education, in the Office of Sustainability Initiatives at SU. “We heard from professors from 13 departments and eight different schools and colleges. All these people have courses and projects that relate to our themes, they have great ideas for pedagogy and student engagement, and they want to meet and work with colleagues across the university and across town at Le Moyne. We couldn’t give them all fellowships, but we certainly plan to bring them together and promote collaborations on the essentially interdisciplinary issue of how climate change affects us all.”

The McDevitt Center at LMC supports initiatives in computer science, management/information systems, philosophy, physics, and religious studies, and is engaged in a major initiative entitled, “Sustaining Earth: Insights from Science and Religion.” The SU Office of Sustainability Initiatives works to strengthen connections across scholarship and practice and forge new institutional arrangements that create integrated approaches to sustainability and advance the university’s commitment to being a leader in sustainability in higher education.

Assessing Pope Francis’ Call for an Integral Ecology

Join us on September 16th at 6:00 p.m. in Le Moyne’s Panasci Family Chapel as we host a set of three short talks discussing the recently released papal encyclical, Laudato Si’.

Dr. Christiana Peppard (Fordham) will address the contents of the encyclical itself; Dr. Lawrence Tanner (Le Moyne) will discuss the science of climate change; and Dr. Jame Schaefer (Marquette) will speak to our ethical implication in climate change and the action that Pope Francis is calling Catholics – and others – to take.

IMG_0279Dr. Peppard received her Ph.D. from Yale University, an M.A.R. in Ethics from Yale Divinity School, and a B.A. in Human Biology from Stanford University. She is the author of Just Water: Theology, Ethics, and the Global Water Crisis (Orbis Books, 2014) explores the problem of fresh water scarcity in an era of climate change and economic globalization. In addition to authoring numerous peer-reviewed articles, Peppard’s research has also appeared in TED-Ed,, the History Channel, Microsoft’s Global Innovators in Education blog, the Huffington Post, and the Washington Post.

To learn more about Dr. Peppard we suggest reading this editorial she wrote entitled “What You Need to Know About Pope Francis’s Environmental Encyclical.”

TannerDr. Lawrence Tanner received his Ph.D. from University of Massachusetts at Amherst, an M.S. from the University of Tulsa, and a B.A. from Williams College. He currently serves as the Director for the Center for the Study of Environmental Change at Le Moyne. Tanner has a passionate concern for the rapidly changing environment of our Earth.  He encourages solidarity between environmental action groups and faith traditions in addressing these issues. Tanner is also widely published, having penned over 90 papers, books, and meeting abstracts.

For additional information on Dr. Tanner we suggest this article entitled “Dr. Lawrence Tanner, Director of The Center For The Study of Environmental Change, On Papal Encyclical.”

SchaeferDr. Jame Schaefer teaches undergraduate and graduate students at Marquette University to engage in theological discourse informed by our contemporary scientific view of the world. Having received her Ph.D. from Marquette University, Schaefer specializes in Systematic Theology and Ethics, Religious Foundations for Ecological Ethics, and Theological Anthropology.

For additional information on Dr. Schaefer please read this short paper, “Anticipating Pope Francis’ Forthcoming Encyclical on the Human-Earth Relationship”.

This event is sponsored by the McDevitt Center at Le Moyne College, the Catholic Diocese of Syracuse, and the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities.  For more information please contact the McDevitt Center at or (315) 445-6200.

Understanding Laudato Si’

In Pope Francis’ recent Encyclical Laudato Si’ (Praise Be or Praise Be to You), he issued an urgent call for all who dwell on our sustaining earth to act to confront the impending environmental crisis.

Join us on September 16th at 6:00 p.m. in Le Moyne’s Panasci Family Chapel as we host a set of three short talks discussing the contents of the encyclical itself, the science of climate change, and our ethical implication in climate change and the action for which Pope Francis is calling.

If you would like to engage in further discussions regarding Laudato Si’, you may wish to register for a free class offered through the Sustainable Development Solutions Network. This short course provides an overview of the main themes and messages of Laudato Si’ and encourages dialogue about one critical aspect of sustainable development: the moral responsibility to live sustainably. The course also provides a forum for participants to discuss, debate, and share their thoughts and ideas.

McDevitt Center Announces Launch of New Lecture Series

This fall, the McDevitt Center will launch a new series of public events entitled Sustaining Earth: Insights from Science and Religion. Sustaining Earth is motivated by our sense of the urgency of the growing threats to our environment and by our conviction that our ability fully to understand and effectively engage with these threats must draw upon both scientific and broadly religious insights and perspective.  With this initiative we aim to provide all members of our campus community, area parishioners, and members of our regional community with accurate and up-to-date information about the threats, their causes, and measures that may help meet these threats.  But we also seek to ground and frame these issues within the context of broadly religious perspectives on our human relation to the environment and our ethical obligations to care for the environment—all with the intention of helping to foster informed and concerted action to sustain our earth.

The inaugural event in this new initiative, “Assessing Pope Francis’ Call for an Integral Ecology,” organized in concert with the Catholic Diocese of Syracuse and the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities, is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday September 16, 2015 in the Panasci Family Chapel located on the Le Moyne College campus.

This event will bring together three speakers to consider Laudato Si’ (Pope Francis’ newly released Papal Encyclical on climate change).  Dr. Christiana Peppard (Fordham) will address the contents of the encyclical itself and their place within the broader context of Catholic thought and Francis’ papacy.  Dr. Larry Tanner (Le Moyne) will discuss the science of climate change.  And Dr. Jame Schaefer (Marquette) will speak to our ethical implication in climate change and the action that Pope Francis is calling Catholics—and others—to take.

This event is free and open to the public.

For additional information please contact the McDevitt Center at 315-445-6200 or